Growbag Blog

Gardening tasks to tackle by Easter

Have you got a VAST list of tasks to do in the garden? Arghhhh – there are SO many! We 3Growbags are here with 10 ideas to help you concentrate your energies. As usual though, we each have different priorities and unfortunately there’s a bit of an ongoing spat over auriculas.…

  1. Involve the children.  Make this the year you get the children and grandchildren involved in gardening.  Almost every famous gardener, landscaper or environmentalist became fascinated by the outside world at a young age – national treasure David Attenborough was talking about it on Wild Isles only last week.  But if youngsters aren’t made aware of it, how will it ever happen? And we really need them, if we are to save this amazing planet! 
Catch the little ones early with a love of the natural world

So get them sowing and growing, and playing with worms and watching bees.  It doesn’t have to be anything intense – my darling grandson aged 4 just likes moving mud about, mostly, but he’ll learn………..

2. Plan for extremes. Only a fool ignores the changes in our climate, and our gardening habits need to change as well.  When planning new areas of the garden, think hard about choosing plants that will tolerate extremes like summer dryness, without the need for watering and mollycoddling. We drew a list of drought-tolerant plants (link at the end) which might give you some ideas as a starting point.

Diascia ‘Personata’ will tolerate drought, here seen with catmint which will also be happy in a dry summer.

3. Clean and mend furniture, fences, gates etc. Oh, I know this is a dull one – I can FEEL my sisters rolling their eyes – and I am deeply guilty of putting this task off myself.  But cared-for ‘hardware’ makes a wonderful difference to the overall look of an outdoor space (hope my husband is reading this and getting the hint……!)

Giving the outdoor furniture some loving care…

4. Celebrate Easter with a pot of fabulousness.  That’s the worthy stuff over, now put together a gorgeous pot of spring plants to set by your front door for Easter. No subtlety required – Laura, are you listening? You need bright colours to make you and visitors smile every time you go past.  Bling to make the heart sing!

Golden beauties like this will brighten your pots no end from early spring onwards

So Elaine’s manifesto is covering all bases with a project for the youngsters (tick) a mitigation activity for the climate (tick) a garden bench for the oldies (tick) and a vote-pulling quick win with an easter pot (tick) – anyone would think she’s running to be the next PM 🤣

My tasks are for the more discerning gardeners amongst you and let’s start with the little jewels of the Easter crown – the primula auriculas. 

5. Tidy and feed primula auriculas. You won’t be surprised to hear that E has no time for these little prima donnas, and was very negative when I suggested she helped tidy my potted collection of them up (as you will see in the video at the end), but now is the time to be pulling off the old dead leaves and giving these little beauties some regular feeds – I use half strength Tomorite every fortnight. 

Primula auriculas
It’s fun to have your own little auricula theatre.

6. Plan a new woodland border. Something else my two sisters don’t really do is understated charm. Elaine’s colour palettes often have more in common with Prue Leith whilst Caroline’s are verging into Dame Edna Everidge territory.  But for those of us with more taste a gentle woodland border is a thing of great beauty and intrigue, and they are just hitting their stride now.

Many of the NGS gardens open in March and April will be full of these vernal species which are adapted to flower early before the tree canopy closes over them, so my advice is to visit as many as you can and draw up a list of plants to put into a little area of dappled shade of your own – trilliums, epimediums, hepaticas, pulmonarias – you won’t regret it.

Synthyris missurica subsp. stellata
Synthyris missurica subsp. stellata, aka mountain kitten tails, a charming woodlander quietly purchased on our visit to Binny Plants whilst E and C were busy buying Barabara Cartland style peonies

7. Mulch herbaceous beds. My final task is a bit of a no-brainier for all of us. With the very wet March we’ve had and the soil just starting to warm up, it would be crazy not to get some mulch onto your borders now, to seal in all that lovely moisture as an insurance against another dry summer. You know it makes sense. 

It makes complete sense to lock in all this luscious soil moisture now

picture of Caroline

8. Helping wildlife. Laura is undoubtedly obsessive about her auriculas (if you’re a subscriber you’ll have seen the video – hilarious!), but I agree there is something slightly miraculous about them, the same as when birds choose your nesting box, or bees slowly plug and unplug your bee hotel, or wood mice play hide and seek in the piles of stones or wood you’ve left lying. 

Yes nurturing nature certainly beats raising teenagers in terms of reward and enjoyment*, so make a note to introduce some nature-friendly features in your garden now the weather is improving. So our eighth recommendation must be to read our post on gardening for wildlife at the link below.

Why is it that the sight of bees taking up your offer of accommodation makes you feel like a lottery winner?

9. Get planting. Have you got plants in pots gathered in various corners after that hasty winter purchase (or successful autumn propagation in Elaine’s case 🙄)? Same here. Those long Highland nights play havoc with my vulnerability to ‘Free post and packing’ deals. Well now the worst of the frost has passed it’s time to get these new guests in the ground. Do quickly type them into the RHS website to check out where they like to grow. Too often I rush straight to ‘planting mode’ and can now confirm that sanguisorba, just as a for instance, will die fairly swiftly in a dry, shady bed. 😖

Can’t think who bought all of these but I hope they’re going to get them planted out soon!

10. Sprucing up. My next recommendation is to give the place a decent spruce up. I agree, the heaving and lifting involved is not hugely appealing so give yourself a helping hand and splash out on some gravel, bark chippings, pre-made edging etc. There’s nothing like some online shopping to egg you on. And yes I mean online. If your garden is any bigger than the size of four trampolines, go large. Tottering out of Lidl’s with a £1.49 bag of mulch is not nearly so motivating as a HI-AB arriving in your drive. It’s much better value in bulk. You could split the cost…ask your neighbours if they, too, would like to tidy their garden up? (Message me for tips on diplomacy before tackling this.)

Brightening up a wet, dreary day – the arrival of a HI-AB and some bark chips!

*It’s worth it from aged 20 onwards though.

Link to our post of Gardening for Wildlife (written during the pandemic)

And here is our list of drought tolerant plants

More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

Even Louise found this shrub hard to find – but so worth the effort. It’s her Great Plant this Month. 

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

5 replies on “Gardening tasks to tackle by Easter”

Hilarious! Cheered my wet (make that sodden) Saturday morning no end.
I’m thinking about how to get you all over here to supper for a natter – but before you hit the big time and pop up on the TV…I rather like you just as you are, if you can fight the call of fame! Go Girls!

Miranda this has to be be best comment we’ve ever received! Not only have you made us feel 10-feet tall but an invitation to dinner! How we’d have loved to take you up on that. Wishing you clearing skies and hot sun by mid-morning – you’ve definitely brought a warm glow to our weekends. 🥰🥰🥰

Last week you mentioned a link on how to make garden supports from ?March 2022- I was unable to find it! Please can you advise? Many thanks Pip

Pip it was actually from 2018 but the post looks a bit scrappy now. Essentially this is what it said (below). Next week we will feature (in our newsletter which you can get here a video on how to make these so do look out for that. (By the way these are 2018 prices – these will cost a bit more now Im afraid!)

It is important that you get your tall-plant supports in early, to avoid the ‘hauled-back-up-and-hung-by-the-neck’ look, but have you been shocked by the eye-watering prices that many places charge for them? You don’t have to blow the children’s inheritance on something that you hope won’t even be visible by mid-summer. Order some steel rods from a builders’ merchant and make them yourself, like we did last week (our order was from a really helpful national company FH Brundle) 12 each of 12mm and 8mm diameter, 3m steel rods and they cost us about £86 including delivery. The thicker ones are for tougher things like tree-peonies and crocosmias.) Persuade a handy partner or pal to help you, or just do it yourself. They make super plant supports at just the height you want them, and at a fraction of the price for the ready-made ones.

Hi Pip, Elaine here. I can give you a few more tips on how to make plant supports with builders’ steel bars. Bend them into a hoop (under your foot, or round a tree), lay them flat on a board with the ends sticking out one side, put another board on top and stand on it. Then just twist the ends upwards towards you. Bingo! They make super plant supports at just the height you want them, and at a fraction of the price for the ready-made ones. You won’t get the curlicues and style of the designed ones, of course. But as I said, plant supports are SUPPOSED to ‘disappear’ anyway!
This is a great job for right now, so you’ll have them stacked and ready to pop in the ground soon; and they’ll last you for years.
Hope that helps. All the best, and happy gardening!

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